Freeman Dyson: Democrat Supporter, Climate Skeptic


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Freeman Dyson, one of the world’s most prominent physicists, has given an interview to The Register, in which he discusses climate change, and his disappointment that President Obama, whom he strongly admires, chose the wrong side of the Climate issue.

Freeman Dyson on Politics;

An Obama supporter who describes himself as “100 per cent Democrat,” Dyson says he is disappointed that the President “chose the wrong side.” Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does more good than harm, he argues, but is not an insurmountable crisis. Climate change, he tells us, “is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?”

Freeman Dyson on Climate models;

Are climate models getting better? You wrote how they have the most awful fudges, and they only really impress people who don’t know about them.

I would say the opposite. What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger. It’s clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn’t so clear 10 years ago. I can’t say if they’ll always be wrong, but the observations are improving and so the models are becoming more verifiable.

It seems almost medieval to suppose that nature is punishing us, rather than the Enlightenment view, that we can tame nature, and still be good stewards of it.

That’s all true.

Read more:

Dyson is also deeply concerned that the world appears to be experiencing a hunger for apocalypse, comparable to the buildup to World War 1.

The years before 1914 were a tremendously promising time. Russia was getting richer, [but then] the whole thing fell apart. It’s comparable today – we’ve done a much better job with feeding the world and if you look at the number of desperately poor people, it has been decreasing quite steadily.

The Dyson’s interview covers a range of interesting related issues – well worth a read. It is also interesting that Dyson openly identifies so strongly with Democratic Party politics. Dyson’s politics, like the politics of other prominent skeptics, contradicts the rather lazy stereotype alarmists sometimes promote, that your politics determine your views on climate change.

As the recent climate mutiny in California demonstrated, Dyson is not the only climate skeptic in the Democratic Party. Other Democrats have gone as far as they are willing to go, and are starting to put climate sanity before political unity.

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October 12, 2015 8:27 am

The best quote: “How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?”
Three things.. money, control, and money.
I’ve seen him interviewed before and his demeanor is pleasant and his argument is sound. Unfortunately he won’t be on the nightly news or Frontline.

Reply to  rbabcock
October 12, 2015 9:19 am

Freeman Dyson with the late Richard Feynman, both real Nobel Prize winners, you never heard brag about, unlike some much smaller man (imagining themselves with one as a reward for creating imaginary data) should be prime examples to the generations of younger scientists in the climate or any other science.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2015 10:55 am

Freeman Dyson has been awarded many highly prestigious scientific awards for his works, but a Nobel Prize is not among them.

Reply to  rbabcock
October 12, 2015 9:23 am

Of course the response will remain, “Poor old man, sad to see him throwing in with the crazies and dimwits and fossil fuel funded deniers.. He was once so brilliant.”

Reply to  aneipris
October 12, 2015 9:51 am

Dimwits & crazies’–it helps when you respond to these things if you’re not looking in the mirror. The religion of climate change is so fervent, that even when presented with the facts you cover your eyes & ears (but not your mouths, ever) & refuse to listen or look at reason. It shows incredible ignorance & intolerance and is very reminiscent of The Dark Ages where anyone who went against the Church was branded a heretic, mocked & worse. Look at yourselves, the parallel is uncanny.

Greg Goodknight
Reply to  aneipris
October 12, 2015 10:48 am

Asked about Dyson during CSPAN coverage of a Los Angeles Times book fair panel discussion, the truly horrible Naomi Oreskes (she was pimping “Merchants of Doubt” at the time) chose to paint Dyson as a lonely old man no longer in the limelight, saying outrageous things to get attention.
The closest Oreskes ever got to science was a bachelors in mining geology and that isn’t very close.

Doug UK
Reply to  aneipris
October 14, 2015 9:54 am

@ Greg Goodnight
The same thing – only more so IMO – occurs here in the UK with our one Green Party MP – Dr Caroline Lucas – who peddled herself (sorry just couldn’t resist) as a Climate Change “expert”.
I saw her at a talk where she was introduced as an expert and realised she was talking absolute bollocks.
I researched her qualifications ;-
“She earned her PhD in Elizabethan literature from the University of Exeter in 1989, with a thesis entitled-
Writing for Women: a study of woman as reader in Elizabethan romance.
After graduating, Lucas worked as a press officer for Oxfam”
Our one Green Party MP masqueraded as a “Scientist” in the early days actually does have a PhD – in Romantic Elizabethan Literature.
Could anyone possibly make this up?

Reply to  rbabcock
October 12, 2015 11:54 am

One thing: culture.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  rbabcock
October 13, 2015 4:25 am

Not quite. More than control and money.
In his book on Lysenkoism the Soviet scientist Zhores Medvedev, a biologist, list four ingredients necessary for a pseudo science to take hold:
1) A false hypothesis, which in our case is the idea that CO2 is an important climate driver when it is not.
2) Politically savvy and/or charismatic protagonist or protagonists (Al and Mike come to mind)
3) Patronage, in Lysenko’s case Joseph Stalin and the Commmunist Party, in our case the UN
4) An ideology in which the whole process can be enbedded, which in our case is the doctrine of political correctness which makes any challenge to the green gods ‘not done’ and stifles free discussion.
The Global Warming Farce aka Climate Change is the occidental liberal’s politically correct equivalent of Lysenkoism. And it is an even more damaging aberation than its predecessor was.

Tom Billings
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
October 15, 2015 2:04 pm

“3) Patronage, in Lysenko’s case Joseph Stalin and the Commmunist Party, in our case the UN”
No, …patronage is monetary support, for the most part. The UN has prestige, but less than 5 percent of the money to hand out for AGW research funding. That funding is found in the legislative budget process. Al Gore had participation in that, as early as his days in the House, when he was part of the “Atari Democrats”, and then had to look for a more distinctive issue to raise votes. Then he became a Senator, and chaired committees involved with funding Science. Then he became Vice President, who is traditionally the pol with cognizance over supervising the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. From that point onwards, he was the one proposing budgets. In addition, gore traveled as VP to many countries, making sure that other countries’ pols understood the personal benefits of a “strong Global Warming policy”. Luckily, he did not make it to President.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
October 24, 2015 8:27 am

You’ve got that right.

October 12, 2015 8:44 am

Dyson sure sounds very sciency about global warming in this 2009 interview.
“Obviously (the interviewer) wanted to write a piece about global warming and I was just the instrument for that, and I am not so much interested in global warming. He portrayed me as sort of obsessed with the subject, which I am definitely not. To me it is a very small part of my life. I don’t claim to be an expert. I never did. I simply find that a lot of these claims that experts are making are absurd. Not that I know better, but I know a few things. My objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it’s rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have. I think that’s what upsets me.”

Reply to  EarthGeo
October 12, 2015 10:18 pm

A person can learn a lot in six years.
Try it sometime.

Pat Paulsen
Reply to  EarthGeo
October 13, 2015 6:05 am

2009 was 6 years ago. People change and intelligent people have been known to change their minds and think for themselves. Parrots just keep repeating “97% “

Harry Passfield
October 12, 2015 8:50 am

Interesting parallel with the build up to WWI. But I’m reminded that that awful period of history was brought about by a seemingly containable act of violence (assassination) that came at the world from an unpredictable direction. What, I wonder will be the odd trigger for a modern-day apocalypse?

Reply to  Harry Passfield
October 12, 2015 11:05 am

Harry – The assassination of a lesser member of a noble house was the trigger. The series of mutual support treaties, sense of an opportunity to change the current order by those who felt themselves disadvantaged, a ruling class who were disengaged with the world of most of their subject, and a smug sense of superiority of my culture (as opposed to my enemies’ culture, towards which I have nothing but scorn) are what lead to war. If I remember correctly (not being there myself, of course).

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 12, 2015 11:46 am

The Crown Pince was a liberal and next on the throne in Austria and it was his father who was the conservative who suppressed the various uprisings in Muslim/Orthodox Christians in distant parts of the empire. This is why the radicals killed the Prince, he was willing to negotiate with people who wanted more rights.

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 12, 2015 11:49 am

The trigger in Sarajevo was so obscure that it simply emphasizes, at a time of universal stress, that ANYTHING can be a trigger, anywhere. For example, what if the House of Saud were to fall tomorrow, and that nation devolve into chaos? Not that unlikely a prospect, they’re hanging on by their fingernails. What if China decides its time to flex its muscles and grab some of those disputed islands by force? The list of possible triggers today goes on and on, and whatever does end up being the trigger will be something none of us even knew was possible.
Nick Taleb’s book, “The Black Swan” was all about this kind of event. We don’t like to think they’re coming, but they always come at times like these, and they’re only obvious in hindsight.

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 12, 2015 12:19 pm

It wasn`t the “assassination of a lesser member of a noble house”. The trigger for war was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire by a plot involving agents of the Kingdom of Serbia.
I can’t think of much better excuses to go to war than foreign agents being behind the assassination of your crown heir.
The system of alliances was the cause for it becoming a world war. Many countries were forced to enter war to honor their treaties, or saw an opportunity in doing so. The first one was Tsarist Russia, allied to Serbia, that acting outside of the Franco-Russian agreement initiated the war against Austria-Hungary and Germany. Nicolas II Romanov was a major factor in the war becoming global. He paid his stupidity with his life and the lives of all his family.

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 12, 2015 1:35 pm

Response to Javier above
Another armchair historian rewriting the Great War history andblaming useless tsar Nicholas for war becoming global. It is the western powers to blame, who at the congress of Berlin in 1878 gave Austria power to administer transition period in Bosnia & Hercegovina, then in 1908 after revolution in Turkey, Austro Hungarian rulers instead to let B&H go free saw opportunity to expand their empire and annexed it.
Anything else are just shabby excuses for failures of the western powers to allow freedom and just settlement for the local population, but instead favouring one of their own empire builders, who was already getting into state of decay. If hawkish Kaiser Wilhem didn’t get involved (Germans should be in final analysis blamed for an existing local conflict becoming the world war) war would have been soon over.
“The battle of the Cer mountain, part of the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia, began on the night of 15 August when elements of the Serbian 1st Combined Division encountered Austro-Hungarian outposts that had been established on the slopes of Cer Mountain earlier in the invasion. The clashes that followed escalated into a battle for control over several towns and villages near the mountain (Cer) , especially Šabac.
On 19 August, the morale of the Austro-Hungarians collapsed and thousands of soldiers retreated back into Austria-Hungary, many of them drowning in the Drina River as they fled in panic.
On 24 August the Serbs re-entered Šabac, marking the end of the battle. Serbian casualties after nearly ten days of fighting were 3,000–5,000 killed and 15,000 wounded. Those of the Austro-Hungarians were significantly higher, with 6,000–10,000 soldiers killed, 30,000 wounded and 4,500 taken as prisoners of war.
The Serb victory over the Austro-Hungarians marked the first Allied victory over the Central Powers in the First World War, and the first aerial dogfight of the war took place during the battle.”
One of my close relatives led one of the units in the charge on the river Drina.

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 12, 2015 2:02 pm

P.S. My grandfather with his two brothers were soldiers in the WWI, one of brothers returned from the US with volunteer forces and joined the army, while another was kilted during subsequent battles in 1915. Even in his late 90s (lived to 103) granddad walked around with a revolver (now property of my older brother) given to him by surrendering Austrian soldier. Perhaps I have biased views, but it is not due to any political misinformation and history rewriting, but a bias born from immediate family’s war suffering and experience.

Berényi Péter
Reply to  Michael Doll
October 12, 2015 2:25 pm

Anything else are just shabby excuses for failures of the western powers to allow freedom and just settlement for the local population, but instead favouring one of their own empire builders

You can’t be serious. Remember, there was this quite horrible war of 1992 in the region, around the same century old unresolved issues, with no Austro-Hungarian empire in sight for 74 years at that time. Failure to exist is a shabby excuse, I know, still…

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 12, 2015 3:44 pm

Berényi Péter Hi.
Yes I am serious. What happened on the ground in ex-Yugoslavia, and what was written in the UK press and media at the time and subsequently are two very different things . What happened on the ground started as a civil war between two parts of the country, one desired own state, started secession, soon was recognised by Germany, in the past it was part of Austro-Hungarian empire, and later in WWII was allay of the Germans , catholic by religion, supported by Rome and implicitly by the west. The other wanted to keep state united, regardless of cost to its own people, liberated from the Ottoman rule, suffered from Germans in both WWI and WWII, orthodox Christians and through history allied and in that particular conflict supported by Russians. Atrocities committed in the WWII were and are still part and parcel of populations collective memory and folklore; they played impotent propaganda tool on both sides.
When western part of the country secession succeeded, and that civil war was ending, the third religious and totally ethnically different part Kosovo, populated by then majority ethnic Albanians (not by immigration from neighbouring Albania, but by the birthrate. 5-8 children is norm, rest of Serbia 2-3) muslim by religion, cradle of the old medieval Serbian state, made their dash for secession and independence. Second civil war ensued, propelled again by bitter memories of a civil war in the area which went on in parallel with the WWII. This conflict is still not fully resolved. In many civil wars including the two on the territory of past prosperous and ‘apparently’ united Yugoslavia, the state of six constituent republics, no one was or is blameless but usually strongest one, this time Serbs, are most often condemned as the trouble makers, justifiably or not. Serbs were not colonizers but happen to be the most numerous, and wanted by all means to keep Tito’s Yugoslavia united, despite the fact that Tito was a Croat and not Serb. Alexander the Great was Macedonian, not Greek, Catherine the Great was not Russian but German princes, Napoleon was not French but Corsican, Hitler was not German but Austrian, Stalin was not Russian but Georgian, and all those large nations followed them.
Problem with Balkans (as you may concluded from my writing) is that there were numerous conflicts, very often external colonial powers using one part of population to support their rule, adding strong family traditions of keeping the memories alive when conflicts arise the past comes to the fore.
Reasons for local conflicts are best understood by the people involved in those conflicts.

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 12, 2015 3:45 pm

I need a rest, have been sent to moderation,.

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 12, 2015 7:38 pm

vukcevic October 12, 2015 at 1:35 pm
Another armchair historian rewriting the Great War history and blaming useless tsar Nicholas for war becoming global.

I am not rewriting anything. It is all documented. The war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia was regional until Russia decreed general mobilisation against Austria-Hungary providing an excuse for Germany to participate. Had Russia not entered the war who knows what would have happened. Perhaps Germany would have declared war to Russia and France anyway or perhaps it would have not, knowing that Britain was ready to enter the war on the side of France and Russia. Nobody gave an opportunity to peace, but Russia made the first move and it was the wrong one.

Wikipedia: On 29 July, Russia in support of its Serb protégé, unilaterally declared – outside of the conciliation procedure provided by the Franco-Russian military agreements – partial mobilization against Austria-Hungary. German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg was then allowed until the 31st for an appropriate response. On the 30th, Russia ordered general mobilization against Germany. In response, the following day, Germany declared a “state of danger of war.” This also led to the general mobilization in Austria-Hungary on 4 August. Kaiser Wilhelm II asked his cousin, Tsar Nicolas II, to suspend the Russian general mobilization. When he refused, Germany issued an ultimatum demanding the arrest of its mobilization and commitment not to support Serbia. Another was sent to France, asking her not to support Russia if it were to come to the defence of Serbia. On 1 August, after the Russian response, Germany mobilized and declared war on Russia.

Nationalism is one of the worst sins of mankind as it has caused untold millions of deaths and unimaginable suffering. Serbian nationalism has an awful record second to German nationalism.

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 13, 2015 1:21 am

You got that wrong, sir.
Russia was mobilising their ramshackle forces and there were no danger to already well equipped and one of the strongest military forces in Europe at the time. Only nine years earlier Russia suffered defeat in war with Japan, there was also first revolution of 1905 and internal turmoil. England was mobilising too, so was France and others, Germany just saw their opportunity and issued ultimatum to Russian government, which was rejected. Germany new that ultimatum would not be accepted and immediately declared war on Russia. Here is document of Germany’s Declaration of War with Russia, 1 August 1914 presented by the German Ambassador to St. Petersburg:
The Imperial German Government have used every effort since the beginning of the crisis to bring about a peaceful settlement. In compliance with a wish expressed to him by His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, the German Emperor had undertaken, in concert with Great Britain, the part of mediator between the Cabinets of Vienna and St. Petersburg; but Russia, without waiting for any result, proceeded to a general mobilisation of her forces both on land and sea.
In consequence of this threatening step, which was not justified by any military proceedings on the part of Germany, the German Empire was faced by a grave and imminent danger. If the German Government had failed to guard against this peril, they would have compromised the safety and the very existence of Germany.
The German Government were, therefore, obliged to make representations to the Government of His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias and to insist upon a cessation of the aforesaid military acts. Russia having refused to comply with this demand, and having shown by this refusal that her action was directed against Germany, I have the honour, on the instructions of my Government, to inform your Excellency as follows:
His Majesty the Emperor, my august Sovereign, in the name of the German Empire, accepts the challenge, and considers himself at war with Russia.”
As you can see Germany declared war on Russia, after Russia refused to accept German ultimatum.

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 13, 2015 1:01 pm

vukcevic October 13, 2015 at 1:21 am
You got that wrong, sir.

You mean Wikipedia got that wrong. Perhaps, but I trust Wikipedia a lot more than I trust you, specially since you have demonstrated to be an interested party.
My country was neutral in both World Wars and did not participate in the Yugoslav wars of the 90s. Unlike you, I am no interested party. As a neutral outsider my opinion of Serbian nationalism couldn’t be lower. It was the direct cause of World War I and Yugoslav wars, and was the cause of numerous war crimes, ethnic cleansing, genocide and crimes against humanity.

Reply to  Michael Doll
October 13, 2015 2:42 pm

No, wikipedia didn’t get it wrong, you just didn’t read it. You not only contradict wikipedia, but in the previous comment you contradict yourself too. It was waste of time, good day and all best to you.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
October 13, 2015 6:57 am

Any comprehensive study of the history of warfare will reveal that the principle reason that any state begins a war is their belief that they can win. The problem with that reasoning is that it does not take into account the second law of war: no plan survives contact with the enemy.

October 12, 2015 9:13 am

Dyson is an academic. Disappointing but not surprising that he is an Obummer supporter. So is Judith Curry, as she fawns over him too. So much for rational analysis concerning politics…

Reply to  beng135
October 12, 2015 9:56 am

I suspect that it has a lot to do with why so many scientists who don’t know anything about climate science, support the myth of AGW.
All the people that they know and respect support it, so they do as well.
They have never bothered to look into it for themselves, they don’t have the time, but since so and so says Obama is wonderful, then Obama must be, because I trust so and so.

G. Karst
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2015 12:00 pm

Don’t forget the “all in” syndrome, where many have pushed alarm on to all their family, friends, and colleagues and cannot endure such loss of face. GK

Reply to  beng135
October 12, 2015 10:03 am

To put it another way, liberalism makes sense on the surface.
If you give people money, they will be able to spend more, and that will improve the economy.
If people are poor, if you just give them money, they will stop being poor.
It seems to make sense, unless you stop to think about what happens next, or how people respond to being given money by govt, or to having their money taken by govt.
The problem is that most people don’t have time to actually think it through. They just trust what they are told by their teachers, or what they read in the papers, and get on with living their own lives.

Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2015 10:15 am

MarkW says:
If you give people money, they will be able to spend more, and that will improve the economy.
Next question: Where does the money come from?
Answer: It is confiscated from other people, sent through the gov’t, then handed out.
That’s pretty inefficient, no?

Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2015 10:19 am

I agree, which is why I stated that such solutions only make sense if you don’t take time to think them through.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2015 11:34 am

The UK’s two great PM’s of the last century:

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
– Winston Churchill
“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
― Margaret Thatcher

That’s all that need be remembered about today’s Democrats turned Socialists.

Reply to  beng135
October 12, 2015 1:31 pm

In Britain a hardcore climate realist is the weather forecaster Piers Corbyn. He is somewhat to the left of his extreme left-wing brother Jeremy who has recently been elected leader of the opposition Labour Party.

Reply to  manicbeancounter
October 13, 2015 4:41 am

Piers actually quit the Labour party in 2002. He has good relations with Roger Helmet who is a MEP for UKIP. I am not sure of his politics, but it does not interfere with his science. He has a first class degree in physics from Imperial.

Evan Jones
Reply to  beng135
October 14, 2015 4:32 am

Heck, I’m a liberal, but most definitely not an Obama supporter. But politics are irrelevant when it comes to science. Science is the dog. Politics is the tail. Where the dog goes, the tail will go. Meanwhile, politicians will pigpile. It’s what they do.

Keith Willshaw
October 12, 2015 9:14 am

There are major differences between the present situation and the run up to WW1. In 1914 the Austrian Empire was eager to punish the upstart Serbians by going to war but dare not without German support.
France was itching for revenge after the defeat of 1870. Much is made of the unfairness of the reparations imposed on Germany by the treaty of Versailles but Germany imposed similar reparations on France and annexed French territory in 1870. The main difference is that France paid the 1870 reparations in full and within 4 years bankrupting its economy in the process and creating great bitterness. The vast majority of the reparations imposed on the Germans in 1919 were in fact never paid and had been waived by 1939.
Britain was bound by treaty to protect the neutrality of Belgium, a fact which Germany chose to ignore when it invaded that country to bypass the French border defences. This gave a cause de guerre to those in Britain alarmed by the build up of the German Navy
While there are doubtless tensions between major powers there is nothing like the eagerness for war and the naivety about what it would involve that affected all the major combatants in 1914. Simply put there is so much to lose and so little to gain that a repeat of the 1914 drift to war seems rather unlikely.

Reply to  Keith Willshaw
October 12, 2015 9:34 am

……punish the upstart Serbians…..
Mr Willshaw, you have no idea what you are talking about. Serbs just liberated themselves from a 300 year long oppression by Ottoman Turks Empire, in order to be annexed by another colonial ruler, albeit a bit more civilised.
Ask an American (not a British, French, Dutch, Belgian, Spanish or Portuguese who are still a bit sad about the loss their empires) what his attitude would be in the similar circumstance.

Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2015 9:50 am

Much of the Hungarian reaction to the vast wave of Muslim migrants trying to force their way into their country can be traced back to their 300 year oppression by the Ottoman turks. Much of the West also seems to forget that the Turks were at the Gates Of Vienna twice and if they had not been pushed back the history of the West would be very different.

Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2015 10:52 am

300 years oppression? The Battle of Kosovo was in 1389, so it was more like 600 years. Also, Serbia was not going to be annexed by Austria. Instead, independent Serbia decided to meddle in Bosnia, which had indeed been annexed by Austria.

Reply to  Keith Willshaw
October 12, 2015 11:48 am

Hi Tony
I know it well, after so many generation it got into the population genes. House I was born and grew up (in the most of the time free principality of Montenegro) was raided by Turkish armies number of times, one of the stone walls still has a turkish farewell canon shell hit imprint, from the early 1800s , while our local church was set to fire few times. House was raided by Austrian army once or twice in 1915/16 looking for hidden weapons, than by the Germans in 1943, when they replaced the next to useless Italian occupying forces, who were at their best by taking stuff away.
Mr Palmer
You got your maths and history wrong. Serbia was not liberated from Turks 26 years ago in 1989, to make it 600 years. Yes, Battle of Kosovo was 28 june 1389, but Serbia ruled itself as a Turkish ‘vazal’ state for many years after, Belgrade eventually fell to the Turks in 1521 and they left Belgrade for good on April 18, 1867. Bosnia fell to Turks in 1463 and it was ruled by Turks for 4 centuries until Congress of Berlin in the summer of 1878 (btw my granddad was born 1875 and died 1978)

Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2015 12:46 pm

Yes, I thought it quite symbolic when the Hungarians erected the fence and tried to uphold the EU laws and defend the gateway into Europe from those trying to force their way in

Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2015 2:29 pm

OK, Vuk, 500 years. You need to make up your mind about what constitutes oppression, though — after all, most of the Hapsburg empire consisted of vassal states, too.

Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2015 4:33 pm

Mr. Palmer, Austro-Hungarian empire was not oppressor, it was colonial ruler, they built roads, some railway lines, allowed education, some of my own family before 1914 went to Prag and Wiena for university education, Nikola Tesla went to US via Wiena. Despite all that not many people wanted to be ruled by a foreign power, not easy to explain to British or French. Many British people don’t like mildest of the rules from Brussels, do they?
In contrast Turks during direct rule were severe oppression, no education, monasteries and churches are often raided or burned if they inspired uprisings, young boys taken to be trained as ‘yanicars’, fierce Turkish soldiers, one Mehmed pasha Sokolovic even became grand Vezier. During ‘vassal’ rule Serbia was slowly shrinking, parts rebelled and were subjugated, while remaining area paid ‘harach’, turkish taxes, punishing and often beyond means of the impoverished population, but they were relatively free.
Belgrade finally fell in in 1521. Part of Serbia was liberated by major uprising in 1804 -1807, the second uprising in 1815 liberated most of Serbia. Belgrade was first liberated in 1806/07 than retaken by Turks in 1815. Few years later prince Milosh Obrenovic, then ruler of Serbia worked out peace deal with Turks, and by 1835 some of his administration was moved to Belgrade from Kragujevac, despite the presence of the Turkish army garrison in the city’s fortress. There was a short conflict after Turks killed Serbian youngster; resulting in a negotiated withdrawal of Turkish Army from Belgrade and two other fortresses in 1867.
So it was not clear cut as you say,

Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2015 5:44 pm

Vuk, thanks for the historical detail, I was not aware of the different stages of Turkish rule in Serbia. Your initial comment seemed to liken Turkish to Austrian rule, but this last one makes your meaning more clear.
I would still submit though that Austria had no intention of subjugating Serbia before WW1, and therefore Serbia’s support for the Austrian heir’s assassination was unjustifiable and ill-advised.

Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2015 11:52 pm

Mr. Palmer
Serbs were not about to invade Austria which had no business to colonise a part of Europe that never belong to them, it was blatant grab for territory.
No individual’s life is worth plunging two countries into open warfare, be it an Austrian prince or the king of Yugoslavia..
On October 9th, 1934. King Alexander of Yugoslavia and his wife, the queen were assassinated in Marseilles, France. Yugoslavia then did not start war on Bulgaria, whose role in Macedonian affairs was very similar to the Serbian in the Bosnian crisis.

Reply to  Keith Willshaw
October 12, 2015 11:54 am

More similarities there than you think. Like France in 1914, Russia is itching for revenge after the defeat of 1989. (It makes even less sense now than then, but the Russians have always been a bit nuts) Also, the real fault line that is about to blow is the grand sunni-shiite war that has been building for 1,000 years, and which could rip the entire middle east into shreds, and drag Europe into it. Russia’s already in, and China, as opportunistic as they are, would know doubt start angling for some of the spoils. It’s been speculated that this war would be more like the 30 Years War of the mid 1600’s, with China playing the part of France, which kept switching sides and putting up proxy armies whenever such a move seemed to advance their interests.
And once Iran goes nuclear, which will be soon, things will REALLY heat up.

Reply to  Keith Willshaw
October 16, 2015 8:33 am

I suggest reading the news.
Russia and the USA actively bombing in sight of each other, and killing allies of the other. Turkey, a NATO member and with obligatory NATO mutual defense obligation flying in the same mix over the same place bombing; already complaining to Russia about incursions. Iran chomping at the bit for more war and with ground troops engaged… and much more.
It is just the same tinderbox and people are tossing lit matches around. W.W.III could start at any minute. Heck, you already have the global powers engaged, at least a dozen countries active in fighting, and a span from Tripoli through Egypt and Syria and up to Ukraine in turmoil. IMHO, we are far closer to war now that when W.W.I started with the assassination.

Jan Christoffersen
October 12, 2015 9:25 am

Dyson is a “100% Democrat” and an admirer of Obama but is disappointed the president “chose the wrong side” on the climate issue. Apparently, Dyson, whom I admire greatly, does not appreciate that the “admirable” Obama disgracefully has been bought and paid for by Big Green and the crony capitalists who profit from an endless stream of gravy-train, “clean-power” subsidies loaded on to the bent backs of long-suffering taxpayers.

Bob Ryan
October 12, 2015 9:37 am

I much admire Freeman Dyson – a first class thinker and scientist. I agree with much that he says in his Register article and in his forward to the latest GWPF Report. However, there is another thread to this debate and it focuses around a profound idealogical clash on the role of models and how they shape our view of reality.
We all have models, they range from the simple abstractions of a subway map to the multi-tiered abstractions of the climate. However, the intellectual elite that drive climate science adhere to a naive form of Rationalism. They believe that these abstractions are progressing towards some idealisation of reality and that what we observe are just shadows on the cave wall. If there is a departure of observation from model it is the observation that is wrong – there is some measurement error, or misspecification in the way that the experiment or data collection has been set up. They are also passionate believers in the ultimate reality embedded in the laws of physics and of mathematics. I remember years ago having an inconclusive argument with my professor of physical chemistry about – coincidentally – the measurements of the behaviour of CO2 and how it didn’t quite conform to the perfect curve derived from Boyle’s Law. He was adamant that the gas law was the reality of the gas – Boyle’s simple equation was what defined the gases behaviour and the fact that my experimental results didn’t conform was down to me and my less than perfect skill as an undergraduate chemist.
The alternative perspective – and Freeman Dyson and so many of those who occupy a (genuinely) skeptical position reflect this – is that observation defines reality. Views may vary from the naive empiricist to the more sophisticated position of the 20th Century empiricists such as Popper, Lakatos or Thomas Kuhn but all, in essence, argue that models are a more or less imperfect representation of the real world we experience through experiment and observation. If the data and the model do not agree then there is something wrong with the model.
But there is another dimension to this intellectual debate which has been around since the time of the Greeks. Rationalism places primacy on our reason – it privileges the intellect and our ability to discover reality purely by thinking about it. We can discern the reality of the ideal gas, of the ideal climate or the ideal society purely through our powers of reason. It has been the intellectual motor of the Left and just as the climate elite model their idealisation of the climate they also believe they can model the ideal society. Standing in contradiction to this is the philosophy that has defined Science from the time of William of Ockham to the current day. It is a science that puts primacy on what we observe and what we can measure. Our theories and our models are coat-hangers of convenience – if the clothes are too heavy they collapse and that is where I see climate science. In Lakatos’s terms it is in a degenerating phase – it still has its hard core of concepts protected by layers of ad-hoccery (the ocean ate my heat type argument) and large flows of cash. But it is losing empirical content – and I suspect the day will come when the doyens of climate science and their political masters will be standing amidst the ruins of their science – like the communists in the rubble of the Berlin Wall – wondering: where did it all go wrong?

michael hart
Reply to  Bob Ryan
October 12, 2015 10:13 am

Thanks, Bob. That’s a nice, succinct read.

Reply to  Bob Ryan
October 12, 2015 11:11 am

Well thought out and well written. A few nitpicks:
– This is not a left versus right issue. Dyson, the empiricist, is on the left; Plato, the idealist, most decidedly wasn’t. Marx was, Hegel was not.
– Our theories are much more than “coat hangers of convenience”. They are not just folders to organize our confirmed knowledge. Scientific hypotheses can fail precisely because they go beyond our current knowledge, because they predict future observations. This “added value” is, at the same time, their great fascination.
The personal story you relate is amusing, but also illuminating. In the current generation of academic scientists, there are too many people with purely theoretical training. Doing experiments in the lab, and having to acknowledge time and again that your predictions and expectations were wrong, that your experimental strategy didn’t work etc. is the most educational part of scientific training. Any fool can pick up a textbook and a keyboard and start punching formulas into a simulation program. As long as he does not rigorously test this simulation against observation and is not prepared to acknowledge defeat when the facts don’t agree, it’s not science.

Reply to  Bob Ryan
October 12, 2015 12:39 pm

One failure of populist science is this widespread notion that, in the physical sciences, you can prove a theory true. You can’t. You can pile up evidence that agrees with theory, and devise good experiments that can prove it wrong, but it will never be proven true.
Where did it go wrong? A good place to start is Eisenhower’s Farewell Address:

“Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

Reply to  Bob Ryan
October 13, 2015 12:03 am

they will never feel any shame, no matter what damage comes from the stupidity.
their intentions were good. they are pure.
how can they be bad? their intentions are good.
intentions trump your right to life, liberty, property.
it only needs your support and consent.
are individuals responsible for their behavior and the consequences?
nobody wants that.
it’s not a conspiracy- it’s just a natural consensus.
you gave up the defense of your rights when you forgot it was the only thing that matters.
recite your mantra.
vote your goat.
pay your jizya.
obey your ayatolla.

Walt S
October 12, 2015 9:41 am

100% of us Texas Democrats who are climate skeptics meet at a corner booth at Denny’s.

Reply to  Walt S
October 12, 2015 11:59 am

I thought it was the third stool from the left at the counter, Walt. No wonder I’ve missed all the meetings.

Reply to  Walt S
October 12, 2015 12:00 pm

I understand being an independent, given the excesses and some of the outright stupidity of the GOP in Texas I think it may be the most moral option out there today.
But after the Wendy Davis fiasco, on top of 20 years of electoral fiasco’s, being a Texas Democrat is just sad if you speak english. I guess its a testament to the power of bad habits.

October 12, 2015 10:00 am
October 12, 2015 10:09 am

Let’s not lose sight of the big picture.
I will be charitable. Dyson is crazy. How can you both admire Obama, be a 100% Democratic supporter, and think global warming is a sham? Obama and the Democrats have made global warming a central tenant of his administration, and is pushing this view globally, with great harm to people everywhere, both in first world and third world countries. The poorer you are, the worse the impact.
Well, so much for being charitable. Now the truth.
He (Dyson) is just another fascist. He will raise his hand and shout “Heil Obama” anytime he is required. I can’t respect him or anybody like him. No matter how “reasonable” they try to sound, they are just ideologues, much like the crypto and not so-crypto Communists of the 1930’s. (BTW, there were only slight differences between the “fascists” and the Communists. Just a slightly different idea of wealth distribution and industrial management. As the wag said, fascism is just failed communism.)
As proof, Dyson understands the sham, yet he will not take an active role in unmasking this sham. To do so would undermine his standing in the Democratic party and, to be sure, among his Democratic friends. He would likely suffer some professional retaliation as well. Better that millions suffer. For the cause. (See the prior paragraph about crypto communist.)
I could go on. Such people are despicable.

Reply to  joel
October 12, 2015 10:38 am

I can’t figure out if your comments are sarcastic or heartfelt. To me Dyson is an academic… enough said.

Reply to  rbabcock
October 12, 2015 12:01 pm

fascist… academic… is there a difference?

Reply to  rbabcock
October 13, 2015 6:05 am

One starts with an ‘f’, the other starts with an ‘a’?

Reply to  joel
October 12, 2015 10:41 am

Do you realise that Dyson will be 92 in December? He is probably an old-school humble gentleman, giving his opinion when asked, not following the modern internet fashion of sounding off about everything.

Reply to  joel
October 12, 2015 11:15 am

You are frothing at the mouth. Maybe get tested for rabies before it’s too late.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  joel
October 12, 2015 11:20 am

How can you both admire Obama, be a 100% Democratic supporter, and think global warming is a sham? “

My stab at that question is as follows.
Old school Democrats like Dyson became democrats as young men growing up during the FDR-Truman era, i.e. work corps, New Deal, Social Security. All that as an outgrowth of the poverty and joblessness of the Depression seen as fueled by fatcat bankers and stock market manipulators of the 20’s. In no way can they see themselves as Republicans who support hard-edged capitalism.
The problem is the Democratic Party changed with the Vietnam War aftermath in the US. The party is now fullbore socialism, run by the anti-War, anti-capitalists of the 60’s 70’s, with only a public filter of most Democrat pols to avoid admitting this. Look at their Presidential nominee wannabees, excepting Obama, all aging boomer white Dems turned socialists. Thats why Obama was so mystically appealing to Dems, he seemed to break the mold of the Democrats come Socialists. But he too turns out to not just be a Sociaist, but one willing to engage in all the dishonesty campaign and political skuldugery of the Chicago Democrat machine at the national-Federal level. Old Dems like Dyson just haven’t come to grips with that dishonesty across all facets of the Democrats pursuit of raw political control. But their science driven skepticism allows them to failed science paradigms,like the anthro-CO2 CAGW theory fail.

David, UK
October 12, 2015 11:07 am

It does sadden me that such a greatly intelligent, learned, and one would think wise, man should be “100% Democrat.” Most of us realise the moral bankrupcy of socialism after not long out of our teens, when we rediscover the knowledge we acquired as toddlers, that theft is wrong. This has tarnished his image for me.

Reply to  David, UK
October 13, 2015 12:58 am

“Most of us realise the moral bankrupcy of socialism after not long out of our teens, when we rediscover the knowledge we acquired as toddlers, that theft is wrong.”
It is not ‘theft’ if your worldview is that ‘you didn’t build that’. Obama and his democrat party and followers like Dyson are there.

October 12, 2015 11:31 am

As these comments abundantly demonstrate, it is not only warmists who make all sorts of presumptions and buy into all sorts of stereotypes about political affiliations.
Until both sides stop it, progress is impossible.
Note: the Oreskeses of the pseudoscience crowd allow themselves to ignore Dyson’s wisdom by dismissing Dyson as “senile.” They, and the imbecilic attackers in this thread, aren’t qualified to sharpen Dyson’s pencils.

Reply to  takebackthegreen
October 12, 2015 11:37 am

…….. Is that you Oblama ????

Reply to  Marcus
October 12, 2015 12:56 pm

Note how this thread deteriorates into name calling…
[Reply: Yes, and just because this Administration engages in overt tribalism, that should not be what we do here. ‘Divide and conquer’ may work, but in general most of us are on the same page, with some individual differences. ~mod.]

Reply to  takebackthegreen
October 12, 2015 5:27 pm

Care to lay out just what these unwarranted assumptions and stereotypes might be?
Or do you just want to limit yourself to whining about other people saying mean things about your side?

Reply to  MarkW
October 13, 2015 5:05 am

The words “assumption” and “stereotype” have definitions. You can’t seriously argue that you don’t see any examples here, can you? “Whine” also has definitions you should look up.
What “side” do you think I’m on? In case you aren’t clear: I’m on the side that believes CAGW is a false idea. Dyson is also on that side. Which is why attacking the greatest living physicist for his political affiliation is imbecilic. And rude. And counterproductive.

Reply to  MarkW
October 13, 2015 6:07 am

I didn’t ask you for a definition of the words you used, I asked you for examples of the problems you claim to be seeing.
Since you refuse to answer the question and instead respond with such a pathetic dodge, I can only conclude that by labeling your first post a “whine” I was being overly generous to you.

Reply to  MarkW
October 13, 2015 11:52 pm

This is my last reply, since your main interest seems to be labeling me a whiner who is upset by people saying mean things about climate skeptics. In which case, be my guest.
Meanwhile, I am an admirer of great scientists. Dyson is one. His critics are not. They are blinded by politics and other irrelevancies.
(And if it helps you find examples of rhetorical elements you can’t seem to see on this page, here is the most obvious starting point: “Democrat = socialist.”)

jim hogg
October 12, 2015 11:36 am

There are some great commenters on this blog on matters pertaining to climate – rgbrown, Richard Keen, Pamela Gray, Willis, Mosher, Stokes and many others, from whom the generalist reader can learn a great deal, but when it comes to politics and philosophy and connections assumed between them and climate science I’m afraid the standard is shockingly bad, with all sorts of non sequiturs and idiocies flying about in the comments pages . . A person’s values are what determines his political views and values aren’t facts, hence the many unresolvable conflicts in politics. No-one is right when it comes to values/politics, though of course if we’re on the left we’re scathing about those on the right and vice versa. Left values are inclined to be more concerned with the conditions of others than those of the right; they are also more likely to be concerned about the environment. Therefore if the “experts” (and most people tend to trust the “experts”) conclude that we’re damaging the earth then the left will be more inclined to take action to prevent that damage, or to adopt the precautionary principle. Whether or not people actually believe the experts isn’t a function of their position on the political spectrum. It’s a function of their concern to be accurate, to be certain, to be sure of the facts, or not, and in the case of the scrupulously sceptical, also of their awareness that real uncontestable facts are quite thin on the ground. Those who are most obsessive about getting things right, about checking the facts are the genuine sceptics, and their politics are irrelevant to that predisposition. Compassion and scepticism aren’t incompatible in any way. It’s also the case that right wingers who are anti AGW in most (MOST! Not all!) cases aren’t that genuine type of sceptic: they just happen to be less concerned about the environment, more concerned with the bottom line, and also hostile to differing degree to ideas that they associate with the left . . . . . Personally, I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum at different times of my life and learned eventually that all ideologies are incomplete and produce evasion/blindness in their victims to concerns and ideas that their ideology doesn’t address – and believe that the schooling system should inoculate us (enable us to see their shortcomings!) against such pernicious systems of ideas. . . Better to just stick to basic concerns and values that make sense of the whole shebang and don’t leave the interests of anyone out, and treat every theoretical claim regarding the currently, unfathomably complex (that would be climate for starters) with the greatest authentic scepticism . . . To put it another way: most right wingers on here may be deniers, but not because they are genuine sceptics, which is obvious given what they do believe if their comments are any guide. Scepticism knows no loyalty except to accuracy and to the facts . .

David A
Reply to  jim hogg
October 12, 2015 12:37 pm

Your post is full of straw man arguments ignorant of many if not most conservative values.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  jim hogg
October 12, 2015 1:14 pm

Jim says “No-one is right when it comes to values/politics, ”
Is it right in any way shape or form for the government to forcibly take your personal property and give it to another without your permission? Only those on the receiving end would say yes.
I have floated an idea that anyone who receives government welfare assistance should be prohibited from voting. This way they cannot vote for the candidate who will steal from another to give them a free ride. If you need and want help from the taxpayers, you must give something up i.e the ability to vote yourself other peoples money.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
October 14, 2015 6:40 pm

“I have floated an idea that anyone who receives government welfare assistance should be prohibited from voting.”
Brilliant! I’ve said similar words for at least 15 years. Your thinking is spot on.
Getting it past the congress-critters is highly unlikely.

DD More
Reply to  jim hogg
October 12, 2015 1:44 pm

Jim, here are a few quotes on your politics and philosophy.
“Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
“Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.”
– Robert A. Heinlein
And on professor / university types.
I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.
William Frank Buckley Jr. 1963 statement, as quoted in The Quote Verifier

Reply to  jim hogg
October 12, 2015 5:28 pm

I couldn’t care less what your values are.
What I care about is that you push a philosophy of govt that has failed every time it’s been tried and that has resulted in misery for millions.

Reply to  jim hogg
October 13, 2015 1:48 am

“…but when it comes to politics and philosophy and connections assumed between them and climate science I’m afraid the standard is shockingly bad, with all sorts of non sequiturs and idiocies flying about in the comments pages .”
And then you proceed into a diatribe of non sequiturs and idiotic statements. There is little that is more irritating to me than reading a self serving collection of false generalities passed off as truth and righteousness. I will ignore and not respond to each so we don’t get off topic.
The main post introduced the political issue into Dyson’ position, suggesting that it is not expected that a democrat Obama supporter would go against the democrat position on global warming. It is enlightening that Dyson is able to separate his politics on this issue, which is one clear take away from the main post. Which is why you should expect a political discussion to some degree. Climate change is about politics more than you know, and that was the point of highlighting his politics.
I would suggest you separate your politics questioning the critical thinking of others who you condescendingly call ‘right wingers’
It’s not critical thinking at any level, not even high school level, to blindly accept the word of the government and agencies whose bias has been shown to favor one scientific view, to base your entire view on the word of ‘experts’ you don’t know whose models have failed, whose data is tampered with, who have known to play politics with peers an peer papers, and whose lives and careers and reputations and finances are irreversibly invested in the very one outcome that they are researching…..and then claim you are right because you care about people more.

Reply to  jim hogg
October 13, 2015 10:55 pm

You don’t get it – neither republicans nor democrats hold the environment in higher esteem or value. The sole difference lies in the preferred methodology for how to make it better.

October 12, 2015 11:53 am

“It is also interesting that Dyson openly identifies so strongly with Democratic Party politics. Dyson’s politics, like the politics of other prominent skeptics, contradicts the rather lazy stereotype alarmists sometimes promote, that your politics determine your views on climate change.”
Interestingly, only a minority of Democrats truly believe in CAGW, between ~20% and ~40% depending on surveys. A bigger percentage *profess* belief, but never actually place climate change top or even high on any priority list for the President or government to execute. Yet the narrative, as spoken by the President himself, presents climate change as the most urgent problem ever. This behavior is a convenient alliance for the sake of (Democrat) party and cultural identity. See the 2D culture graph in this Climate Etc post:
Bias on climate issues does not come ultimately from politics. It comes from a climate culture in itself, which happens to have asymmetrical coalitions with the 2 US political parties (like religion does too, but with Reps and Dems swapped over). In many countries outside of the US there is far less political asymmetry, but just as much bias springing from a (global) climate culture in its own right.

October 12, 2015 11:55 am

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
Maybe the smartest man since Einstein, Freeman Dyson, on climate models:
“it’s clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn’t so clear 10 years ago.”
On ‘Paris’:
“Whatever the rest of the world agrees to, China and India will continue to burn coal, so the discussion is quite pointless.”
H/t: Garth Goodsman

October 12, 2015 12:11 pm

I get depressed every time I read “democrat supporter”. Our dems are complete socialists despite their sometimes imaginations to the contrary and it is very confusing that anyone would even remotely consider supporting socialism over capitalism. There is an extreme level of non-understanding in them.

Reply to  Jeff Id
October 12, 2015 2:28 pm

A major reason climatology is appeals to socialists is that it fits in with their world view. For example take this comment from Dr Ken Rice (blogger …and Then There’s Physics) on Bjorn Lomberg’s approach to economics:-

Take all the problems in the world, determine some kind of priority ordering, and then start at the top and work your way down – climate change, obviously, being well down the list. It’s as if Lomborg doesn’t realise that the world is a complex place and that many of the problems we face are related. We can’t necessarily solve something if we don’t also try to address many of the other issues at the same time. It’s this kind of simplistic linear thinking – and that some seem to take it seriously – that irritates me most.

Extreme socialists have always assumed that not only to they have access to complete knowledge of the world, but that such knowledge gives them infallible solutions to any problems. People more in touch with the real world realize that knowledge and resources are finite. So instead of doing everything, we should try to make the biggest positive difference.

October 12, 2015 1:26 pm

In Prof Dyson’s defense, he is speaking out more than most in academia. And at 92, almost no one is going to change due to criticism.
I applaud Dyson for telling the truth: ‘climate change’ is a complete non-problem. He states flatly that the President is wrong, and that the models are wrong.
When you’re surrounded by head-nodders it takes some courage to keep from head-nodding in unison. I hope Dyson says the same things to his colleagues, repeatedly.

October 12, 2015 2:06 pm

I quite like and respect Freeman Dyson, but he gets things a bit wrong when he says:-

we’ve done a much better job with feeding the world and if you look at the number of desperately poor people, it has been decreasing quite steadily.

We have not done a better job of feeding the world. Much of the massive reductions in absolute poverty have been where foreign aid and intellectual planners have been very little or entirely absent – in China, India and the rest of SE Asia. Instead foreign aid has been concentrated in African countries, where the climb out of poverty has been much slower.
Today the Nobel Prize in Economics went to Prof. Angus Deaton of Princeton, a specialist in poverty eradication and who has influenced Indian Government Policy. He said in a 2013 book:-

The idea that global poverty could be eliminated if only rich people or rich countries were to give more money to poor people or to poor countries, however appealing, is wrong. These simplistic beliefs are based on a misdiagnosis of what it is that is keeping people poor.

These simplistic, top-down views just as much in evidence in climate policy. If anything it is more extreme. There is the belief that Governments in 200 countries will drop all other policy considerations – and eradication of absolute poverty is probably the greatest – and save the world from catastrophic global warming based on climate models that do not work, and without any viable energy alternatives. So when countries are invited to submit plans to save the world, for every one tonne of GHG reductions in developed nations there are three or more tonnes of forecast GHG increases in developing nations. And the planners don’t even notice.

Reply to  manicbeancounter
October 12, 2015 10:31 pm

The humanitarian industry is like a pharmaceutical company spreading disease in order to sell the treatments. If they really cared about ending hunger, all food aid would taste nasty, shelter would be uncomfortable and crowded, and clothing would be embarrassing to wear.

October 12, 2015 2:32 pm

15 Aug: Physics Today: Questions and answers with Freeman J. Dyson
What does the iconic physicist think about the Pluto flyby, the Iran nuclear deal, and how his scientific legacy might be affected by his contrarian climate-change views?
PT: Are you ever concerned that your contrarian view of climate science will become as much a part of your legacy as all the other contributions you’ve made to science? Or do you embrace that possibility?
DYSON: I do not care what my legacy will be. To me the most beautiful aspect of science is that it is a collaborative enterprise, with a multitude of people from all over the world taking part. In the long run, it does not matter who discovered what. We all share the joy of discovery even if we do not share the credit. I am happy to be skeptical about the prevailing dogma concerning climate change, whether or not it turns out that I am right. As a scientist, I can disagree vigorously with my colleagues and still remain friends…

October 12, 2015 2:39 pm

We have not done a better job of feeding the world.
I understood Dyson to mean: The world has done a better job of feeding the world.
Expecting foreign aid to solve the problem is a nonsense. Aid teaches dependence, which is the first step on the road to failure. Sending aid undermines the local economy, increasing unemployment, as no one can compete with “free”.
Imagine some sets up a huge box store in your city, and sells imported goods at 10 cents on the dollar as compared to local prices. Very soon every other store in town would be driven out of business. The local economy would collapse.
This is what foreign aid does. It is also what is happening in much of the developed world right now, as Chinese imports flood the market at 10 cents on the dollar.

Reply to  ferdberple
October 12, 2015 8:50 pm

ferdberple October 12, 2015 at 2:39 pm,
That’s how I took it, too.
It seems that mbc’s idiosyncratic interpretation of the pronoun “we” is an opening for a little bit of a rant.
Although your brief characterization of ‘aid’ as a detriment to local progress has a whiff of plausibility, I don’t find it convincing.
A micro-loan offers an advantage to one enterprise but that doesn’t mean that that individual quickly winds up as the local monopolist; I’m sure that you would subscribe to the belief that competition promotes growth, in part because people are spurred on by the success of their competitors. And yes, an interest-free loan is something for free.
Help from outside can definitely be a good thing but it does have to be proportional and sensible.
I don’t know what Freeman Dyson would say.

Craig W
October 12, 2015 3:51 pm

“If you want to keep an animal off the list of endangered species … put it on the menu.”
I’ve been reading Dyson’s articles/interviews for years, he has always made a lot of sense.
Thanks for posting this.

Jim G1
October 12, 2015 4:25 pm

Ignorance and/or hypocrisy and desire for personal gain through use of the power of government feed most of the liberal agenda and a good deal of the ultra conservatives as well. The two biggest thieves robbing the average working joe are government and major oligopolistic corporations, with government by far worst and those corporations in league with big government. Being a strong democrat supporter, in today’s political world is to be a socialist. Until Obama socialism had been pretty much thrown on the trash pile of history as nonfunctional by all but the Cubas of the world. The days of JFK type democrats being long gone with even communist China converting to a type of faciast crony capitalism which we, in the US, are rapidly approaching. Being great at physics and right about cagw does not make one overall smart.

Reply to  Jim G1
October 12, 2015 5:03 pm

Oh, I think Prof Dyson is very smart. Not about everything; no one is.
But Dyson is far more intelligent than the average Obama voter:

Jim G1
Reply to  dbstealey
October 12, 2015 5:37 pm

Those very intelligent individuals with whom I attended undergraduate school ( top 10% of hs grads and high SAT etc. Some IQ’s at 160-180. ) and those with whom I worked were not necessarily smart about “all things” but you’ll not find an Obama voter in the bunch that I know of. Most also believe the Republicans to be stupid but there is the philosophy of the lesser of evils. Unlike the common belief regarding intelligent nerds, my experience is that those who receive gifts get them, usually, across the board, including physical and athletic, but not always. I suspect the Dyson fellow was in the not always group regarding smarts.

Reply to  Jim G1
October 12, 2015 5:31 pm

Without govt, corporations can’t hurt anyone. Keep govt small and most of your other problems disappear on their own.

NW sage
October 12, 2015 5:50 pm

Back to the original topic:
It seems to me there is a fundamental issue here that is being missed. And that is the the age old argument of Authority vs Science. Authority always NEEDS to be ‘right’ in whatever position it takes. The physical facts that Science presents often contradict those positions [eg Galileo vs the authority of the Church; The flat earth advocates; etc] When ‘authority’ is contradicted it often reacts badly because, well, it always needs to be right otherwise it is not ‘authority’. Far too much of the climate change argument revolves around the authority concept eg WHO said it and not WHAT was said and the physical evidence supporting the assertion. Many many ‘scientists’ also fall (or are encouraged to fall) into the authority trap. Rather than think through a problem and the proposed solutions it is easier to simply ‘believe’ in what someone else said. To “take it on faith”. To authority reputation is everything. If a part of what an authority says is shown to be untrue his reputation takes a big hit. It is natural for him to resist that hit.
This phenomena has been going on since the beginning of man and will very likely continue.

October 12, 2015 6:48 pm
“To stop the carbon in the atmosphere from increasing, we only need to grow the biomass in the soil by a hundredth of an inch per year. Good topsoil contains about ten percent biomass, [Schlesinger, 1977], so a hundredth of an inch of biomass growth means about a tenth of an inch of topsoil. Changes in farming practices such as no-till farming, avoiding the use of the plow, cause biomass to grow at least as fast as this. If we plant crops without plowing the soil, more of the biomass goes into roots which stay in the soil, and less returns to the atmosphere. If we use genetic engineering to put more biomass into roots, we can probably achieve much more rapid growth of topsoil. I conclude from this calculation that the problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a problem of land management, not a problem of meteorology. [b]No computer model of atmosphere and ocean can hope to predict the way we shall manage our land. [/b]”
-Freeman Dyson 2007

October 12, 2015 6:52 pm

Thanks, Eric Worrall.
I have a great admiration for Freeman Dyson, I quote from him in my ARVAL web pages.

Michael Hebert
October 12, 2015 6:58 pm

Global warming is a sham and Go Bernie 2016! ‘Nuff said!!

Reply to  Michael Hebert
October 12, 2015 7:33 pm

That’s just weird !!!! A socialist that doesn’t believe in the GloBULL warming scam !!

October 12, 2015 8:29 pm

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:

I think it is reasonable to assert that Freeman Dyson is the greatest genius alive on earth today. He is worth listening to.
I love this closing:
[Interviewer] Finally, what are your views on fusion? Do you see any real progress being made?
[Dyson] I think they made a terrible mistake 50 years ago when they stopped doing science and went to big engineering projects. These big engineering projects are not going to solve the problem, and they’ve become just a welfare programme for the engineers. You have these big projects, both national and international, that are really a dead end as far as I can see. Even if they’re successful, they won’t provide energy that’s useful and cheap.
But it’s not clear when you do science, whether you’ll discover anything or not. But that’s the only answer.
[Interviewer] So with fusion, we should go back to the drawing board?
[Dyson] Yes, and it’s not going to solve any problems for the near future.
But I don’t think there is a problem in the near future anyway [laughs].

October 12, 2015 11:42 pm

Well, I am left leaning politically. I am an admirer of Obama and recently Jeremy Corbyn. But I have become skeptical as a result of having been challenged on the facts by someone whose views on such things I respected. I then investigated very deeply and the found that the evidence does not support the conclusion that man is irrevocably and dangerously altering the climate on a global level.
The question of whether we are changing the climate is in the first instance a scientific one. What to do about it is a political question. But it’s dangerous and not valid to let yourself be fooled over the first question in order to fulfil the requirements for a consensus for a political solution. The danger is that our agonising over essentially what is a non problem distracts us from the very real and immediate problems we face, particularly in respect with our impact on the environment.
As a progressive liberal (what I think is understood by that anyway) I can understand why the alarm can grow on this issue. People who know nothing at all about climate change are predisposed to be somewhat skeptical. They are force fed so much alarmist rubbish by the media that alarm of AGW smells the same. Then there are the educated progressive types such as myself, who read scientific articles, in depth articles in broadsheets on certain issues and are generally superficially more informed. From this point of view, the plausible mainstream scientific concern plus a primary motivating sense of social and general responsibility, the sense that we need to work collectively to manage our existence on this planet responsibly, can lead to genuine if misinformed concern over our impact on the climate.
It’s only when you investigate the issue more deeply that you realise that the scientific case is so poor and efforts and energies directed in rectifying a non problem is efforts and energies not directed into manifest problems. Thus my liberal progressive “socially responsible” nerve kicks in and my alarm is over the damage to the integrity of science, the distraction and waste of money and ingenuity on “fixing” a non problem that will not be relevant or adequate for our longer term future.

Reply to  agnostic2015
October 13, 2015 2:41 am

“Well, I am left leaning politically. I am an admirer of Obama and recently Jeremy Corbyn. But I have become skeptical as a result of having been challenged on the facts by someone whose views on such things I respected. I then investigated very deeply and the found that the evidence does not support the conclusion that man is irrevocably and dangerously altering the climate on a global level.”
I hope you will take that newfound, albeit late, wisdom and do something useful with it within the democrat party. Help the poor not by redistributing wealth but by lowering the cost of living, not raising it with false climate scares.
When it comes time for the Nuremberg Climate Trials in about 20 years, will you testify against all your friends and leaders who, being in denial themselves falsely called others “denialists”, “flat earthers”, refusing to debate, convincing major newspapers to squelch the debate and not publish their opinions, some of whom called publicly to prosecute and imprison leading scientists who disagreed with them, attempting to create an atmosphere of fear amongst scientists who dared go against the political and scientific elite, where government agencies tasked with objective scientific responsibilities themselves became biased and political?
No need to answer, just making a point.
Welcome to the real world. (…sort of..we need to work on that Progressive thing next, another day, another blog).

Reply to  agnostic2015
October 13, 2015 3:16 am

++ 10

David Cage
October 13, 2015 12:02 am

It is no mystery. If it is impossible to get a grant unless you are pro global warming / climate change so of course those trained in the field will either support it or be unemployed and look elsewhere for work. I only became interested in this issue as a result of a group of them who went into engineering rather than lose their integrity showing me the fiddles and them getting me put on a list for papers that were not intended to go outside the faithful.

Man Bearpig
October 13, 2015 12:37 am

There is another interesting article on the site about the effects of the Cherbobyl disaster. Greenpeace (as usual) were predicting the usual death/destruction/tragedy/mass extinction of local wildlife yet exactly the opposite seems to have happened.

Several previous studies of the Chernobyl exclusion zone indicated major radiation effects and pronounced reductions in wildlife populations at dose rates well below those thought to cause significant impacts. In contrast, our long-term empirical data showed no evidence of a negative influence of radiation on mammal abundance. Relative abundances of elk, roe deer, red deer and wild boar within the Chernobyl exclusion zone are similar to those in four (uncontaminated) nature reserves in the region and wolf abundance is more than 7 times higher.

Reply to  Man Bearpig
October 14, 2015 8:13 am

Be careful with this. All the recovery of wildlife was from removing the human population in its entirety. Don’t give these people ideas.

October 13, 2015 1:37 pm

Climate and CO2- E mail Exchange with Freeman Dyson
E-mail 4/7/15
Dr Norman Page
Professor Dyson
Saw your Vancouver Sun interview.
I agree that CO2 is beneficial. This will be even more so in future because it is more likely than not that the earth has already entered a long term cooling trend following the recent temperature peak in the quasi-millennial solar driven periodicity .
The climate models on which the entire Catastrophic Global Warming delusion rests are built without regard to the natural 60 and more importantly 1000 year periodicities so obvious in the temperature record. The modelers approach is simply a scientific disaster and lacks even average commonsense .It is exactly like taking the temperature trend from say Feb – July and projecting it ahead linearly for 20 years or so. They back tune their models for less than 100 years when the relevant time scale is millennial. This is scientific malfeasance on a grand scale. The temperature projections of the IPCC – UK Met office models and all the impact studies which derive from them have no solid foundation in empirical science being derived from inherently useless and specifically structurally flawed models. They provide no basis for the discussion of future climate trends and represent an enormous waste of time and money. As a foundation for Governmental climate and energy policy their forecasts are already seen to be grossly in error and are therefore worse than useless. A new forecasting paradigm needs to be adopted. For forecasts of the timing and extent of the coming cooling based on the natural solar activity cycles – most importantly the millennial cycle – and using the neutron count and 10Be record as the most useful proxy for solar activity check my blog-post at
The most important factor in climate forecasting is where earth is in regard to the quasi- millennial natural solar activity cycle which has a period in the 960 – 1020 year range. For evidence of this cycle see Figs 5-9. From Fig 9 it is obvious that the earth is just approaching ,just at or just past a peak in the millennial cycle. I suggest that more likely than not the general trends from 1000- 2000 seen in Fig 9 will likely generally repeat from 2000-3000 with the depths of the next LIA at about 2650. The best proxy for solar activity is the neutron monitor count and 10 Be data. My view ,based on the Oulu neutron count – Fig 14 is that the solar activity millennial maximum peaked in Cycle 22 in about 1991. There is a varying lag between the change in the in solar activity and the change in the different temperature metrics. There is a 12 year delay between the neutron peak and the probable millennial cyclic temperature peak seen in the RSS data in 2003.
There has been a cooling temperature trend since then (Usually interpreted as a “pause”) There is likely to be a steepening of the cooling trend in 2017- 2018 corresponding to the very important Ap index break below all recent base values in 2005-6. Fig 13.
The Polar excursions of the last few winters in North America are harbingers of even more extreme winters to come more frequently in the near future.
I would be very happy to discuss this with you by E-mail or phone .It is important that you use your position and visibility to influence United States government policy and also change the perceptions of the MSM and U.S public in this matter. If my forecast cooling actually occurs the policy of CO2 emission reduction will add to the increasing stress on global food production caused by a cooling and generally more arid climate.
Best Regards
Norman Page
E-Mail 4/9/15
Dear Norman Page,
Thank you for your message and for the blog. That all makes sense.
I wish I knew how to get important people to listen to you. But there is
not much that I can do. I have zero credibility as an expert on climate.
I am just a theoretical physicist, 91 years old and obviously out of touch
with the real world. I do what I can, writing reviews and giving talks,
but important people are not listening to me. They will listen when the
glaciers start growing in Kentucky, but I will not be around then. With
all good wishes, yours ever, Freeman Dyson.
Email 4/9/15
Professor Dyson Would you have any objection to my posting our email exchange on my blog?
> Best Regards Norman Page
E-Mail 4/9/15
Yes, you are welcome to post this exchange any way you like. Thank you
for asking. Yours, Freeman Dyson

October 13, 2015 6:36 pm

Great post and thread of comments. The sense I get is that the planet is cooling, particularly since 2005 March. I think that the vested interests in CAGW are panicking and have circled the wagons to push forward their control paradigm agenda. Distracting the voter and world citizen with ever more shrill climate scare stories to quickly drive policies they want is what we are seeing now. Inertia. Money. And ultimately our world civilization is being set up for a catastrophic failure by not allocating resources to real problems and events man-made or natural.

October 14, 2015 3:52 am

I very much like Freeman Dyson and his views (let’s leave aside his allegiance to any particular political party).
Regarding the false global warming crisis:
If elected (in Canada), young Trudeau says he will meet with Obama to discuss climate change.
Now that will be a meeting of intellectual giants…
Best, Allan 🙂

Reply to  Allan MacRae
October 19, 2015 9:10 pm

Well, young Trudeau got elected tonight.
Today, Canada got a whole lot stupider.
This was a national IQ Test, and Canada failed.
Get ready for the meeting of minds between Trudeau and Obama – with that much brilliance in one room, the lights will dim all the way to Florida.

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